When did it all become so complicated?(35 Posts)
Am v new to this site, although think it's pretty fab to have all the different topics! Have had a read of a few of the threads on here in the last couple of days and it just seems all so much more complicated than it used to be! All of the woes about buying the horse, finding somewhere to house it, daily poo picking, diet supplements, working on your seat, etc etc, it just doesn't sound like fun anymore. And i'm not 112, i'm 41 - had a few years at pony clubs/gymkanas, then gave up for about 10-12 years (in which time the pink pony accessories and flash nosebands as standard on bridles arrived), then bought a horse and rode it until i got pregnant and am currently too fat to get back on.
In fact, whatever happened to gymkanas? Can't think that i've seen one for years? Someone please tell me that you can still take your pony/horse there and do jumping/working hunter in the morning, fancy dress at lunchtime then games in the afternoon. It all seems so serious now, but i think i'll possibly blame that on the arrival of dressage! Does that mean I've answered my own question?
If you are under 16, you can certainly do that sort of gymkhana round here - in the summer both days every weekend! Not sure on adult fancy dress and games, but then I'll be found on the end of a lead rein gasping at the antics of the pushy mums
Nothing wrong with doing things properly. It's still fun.
I agree with Shashep. There used to be loads of shows round here where you could go in the 'fun showing' (horse the judge would most like to take home/family pony etc), gymkhana and have a go at the clear round without having to own an expensive pony and all the gear. Now there's nothing like that at all, not within hacking distance anyway.
But 50, the first time I entered a gymkhana I was on my mum's Shire X. I bet that wouldn't count as 'doing it properly' nowadays (though we did get a rosette!).
Ahh, the clear round - i'd forgotton about that - hands up who got their first rosette in the clear round? And i've been googling for local shows and gymkanas etc, they do seem to have died a death...........perhaps due to insurance? Does anyone on here run a show/gymkana? Do you have to have insurance? If so, how much does it cost?
Clear round was great. My mum's horse would learn the course after the first go round so anyone who took him in after that only had to hang on tight to his mane. He was very popular .
He wasn't so good at Chase me Charlie as the jump had to get up to a certain height before he'd make the effort.
Do they still do bucket elimination? That was my favourite when I got my pony because you didn't have to be brave, just accurate.
My first rosette was from the clear round too!
I think a lot of it is to do with Health & Safety unfortunately. A lovely RI in our area runs a family horse show which is great, but very sedate - no galloping about with a bucket and jumping on and off. Just endless In Hand Showing.
My DD has just joined Pony Club so I will soon find out if they still do gymkhanas.
Lack of volunteers is another issue, but I am not sure why people have given up doing stuff.
What is/was bucket elimination? And have just been googling my old pony club - nice to see that jackets and ties and plaited manes are no longer compulsory at everything!
I used to love gymkhanas! Never had my own pony, so was beyond jealous of anyone competing.
Our riding stables did one a year, though, and you could loan a pony for the day. Clear round and potatoes in a bucket were my favourites.
I hated weaving poles.
Bucket elimination. You have a line of about 8 upside-down buckets forming a small jump (no wings). Everyone takes turns jumping over, if your pony kicks a bucket or ducks around then you are out. Each time every rider has been round you take away a bucket, so the jump gets narrower and harder to jump straight. Whoever stays in longest wins.
All the gymkhanas in our area did it, perhaps it was a local thing? Or maybe has another name?
Should have said take handles off buckets for safety.
I came back to riding several years ago, after about a 10 year gap, and the thing I was amazed at was all the gear people have these days! Some of if I had no idea how to put on , and had to be shown how .
Like galloping boots for cross country - we barely bothered with bandages when I was a kid. The first time I put them on my loaner, he was so frustrated with how long I took, that he lifted his leg and brushed against mine in a faux kick to tell me so!
We still have gymkhanas.My girls only did 2 last year as the weather put paid to a lot.They did lead rein,first ridden,clear round,fancy dress,bending,sack race,and veteran.
I think you won't see the dates for most things yet, and googling isn't a good way of finding things as most gymkhanas don't have websites. We have a local equestrian website that you can put events on and thats a good source, but mostly its leaflets in the tack/feed shops
The lady next to us in the lead rein at our last gymkhana had a 16hh horse with a 3 year old riding him.He came 5th out of about 20 I think.Our PC had a Christmas gymkhana and do all the games at camp,but don't have a games team,which is a shame.
We were practising games yesterday,DD2's new pony is a fast learner and can do the bending race very nicely.They also did the one where you jump off and run along a row of stepping stones/buckets,leading your pony.Collecting tennis balls from the top of traffic cones is another favourite,as is picking up balls using a fishing net and dropping them in a bucket.
I've no idea about brushing boots,bandages or any of that stuff I'm afraid.
OP you might enjoy Le Trec.
Children's gymkhanas are still very popular as far as I know. Events for adults tend to be organised around RCs, so for example I have seen local livery yards organise fancy dress dressage to music and similar fun events.
Sadly round here all our small shows have either died a death because of insurance, or been taken over by ponies UK. Which is crap because there are rules, guidelines, height restrictions and all that guff now. You can't just go and have some fun with the kids and our lovely mongrel ponies anymore! :-(
If I could find somewhere to do it, I'd run my own shows.
Lots of fun stuff available round here (although fancy dress is harder to find-thank God!). If you're around the M42 in the midlands look up Atherstone Riding Club.
We have been converted to Serious Showing which is fun in a different way but DD has a fancy dress obsession and any spare weekends will find a fancy dress class and gymkhna games somewhere!
I agree, seemsro have changed. We used to just hack to a show with a few quid in our pockets for class fees - for whatever we fancied on the day - and an ice-cream.
I too wonder about this "perfect pony" nonsense - I got my brilliant seat EXACTLY through riding everyone's unrideable shits!
We still operate a local show. We're struggling to get members as a lot of people want to compete on surfaces and do specific classes. The local shows will only survive if people use them.
I think today people (not all) buy a horse to do a specific job. They buy the specific saddle and bridle to go with that horse and this compete in that event. Very few people own an all round pony or one which they are willing to use for all round activities.
I still do the local gymkhana. With my pony we did everything from ridden showing to games, working hunter to handy pony. It was fab!!! I'm 31 now lol and if my pony still lived with me shed be doing the same!! Sadly I think my tb would be too slow and stupid for games!
But the local shows are run by volunteers, the majority of my shows committee is over 50, it's hard to recruit new people. They want the shows, they don't want to help.
Insurance (public event) costs about £800 for the year. That enables us to run 20 events on the ground. Rents about 2000. We have to make 800 a show to break even for the year. Judges cost about 200a show, rosettes 300 toilets 130 ground maintenance 120 etcetc
I remember bucket elimination ! My first pony who was born to do mounted games used to do a few rounds then boot the bucket on purpose . I tried doing it with the big horse in the summer in our field . You would have thought they were landmines . And as for the flags ! I tried to pick one up and he went into total hysterics . Bloody diva .
And apple bobbing ! Always very popular as the last race . And chase me Charlie ! Have gone all nostalgic now . Those were the days .
Plomino, you've inspired me now. If our field ever dries up I'm going to collect up some flags and stuff and see what dhorse thinks of them. I suspect he will try to eat them but you never know. Mind you, they will have to be quite tall flags as dhorse is a lot taller than my old pony and I'm a lot less bendy .
horseylady Toilets? There's fancy! I seem to remember asking a friend to hold my Thelwell whilst I searched for a tree or hedge! Although I seem to have distant memories of mums whining about lack of facilities haha. In fact, god could this be true? I remember toilets for "adults only" - children were expected to find a hedge!
I will definitely get involved a local and more "casual" level should I ever move back to the UK.
I lived in Belgium for a while and there if you wanted - as a child (!) to compete in a jumping competition you actually had to sit an exam first to prove you understood the rules. None of this "fun" business.
I think if we had a lot more bucket, egg & spoon, chase-me-charlie etc. we'd have a lot more younger riders with better seats!
Years ago when I was at a different yard we did have our own fun gymkhana one afternoon. Everyone entered, adults and children with all different sized horses. The Gretna Green was especially hilarious. For a start some of the horses were 16hh + so we had to find things for people to climb on to and leave them strategically placed. Then as they weren't in the habit of being ridden doubles like the ponies were, they shot off bucking in all directions. So funny but didn't do much for 'the noble cause of equitation' as Jill would say!
I've recently have the dubious pleasure of being utterly traumatised by the sight of my 5 year old child hanging upsidedown from a stirrup her foot was caught in whilst 2 dozen ponies stampeded wildly around an indoor school in the name of gymkhana games! She was not traumatised - she managed to collect a ribbon off the ground which meant she got to stay in till the next round.
The Pony Clubs round here seem to run a few decent shows for kids - last year we did lead rein jumping, gymkhana games and ridden M&M at one show, and lead rein pony, fancy dress and games at another. Lack of spare weekends and the weather meant we didn't get out and about as much as I would have liked with her.
I have no idea about the scene for adults. I hunt and do fun rides these days, but in recent years have shown at county show level. I'm not sure I'm up for fancy dress!
I agree with the OP about 'stuff' though. My horse has his saddle, bridle (without flash,) a couple of plain brown or black numnahs, 2 turnout rugs that he wears inside too, and a thermatex. He doesn't need any more stuff. I deliberately try and keep stuff to a minimum, but I can see how it could be tempting to buy all the stuff there is out there today if you had spare money and nothing else to spend it on. You will admit it is a bit of progress though since jute rugs and new zealands were the order of the day!
I'm on our local riding club committee and we do all these things every other week March -Oct! Showing, show jumping and pony games pus eventing and dressage evenings.
I take two or three ponies and lots of small kids each time, it's fab. We have a large membership and it's all very well supported.
I don't like too many bits of kit either.I hate seeing little ponies strapped down in flashes.We recently took Dpony's running martingale off because I can see no reason for her to wear it.
Brandy arrived with 2 string girths.I'd not seen those for years.They are at least 50 years old as his owner used them on her ponies when she was small.
back my horse has a lot if rugs. Someone was selling theirs so I bought them all as mine was quite literally shredding a rug a week. Since I bought them have any been shredded??!!!
Re "stuff" - those horse mags these days make me feel inadequate because I tend to operate on a 2-rug basis (turnout/in + fleece) and I don't use boots. Decent conformation should remove any necessity - as for broken knees. Blimey - you're assuming I'd ever own a nag for whom that would be an issue!
I do have a bag full of boots in the shed
I do have two saddles - but that's purely because I won't hack or jump in a dressage saddle and dressage really is easier with long knee-rolls and flaps. Hurr... I said flaps!
horseylady headcollars and lead ropes operate on the same basis. Have only one left in the appropriate size? Nag will hook it on a fence or rip a buckle off with its ungainly hooves. Have 5 lined up and ready to go? Nothing. Nada. You'll have washed the colour out of them before you need to replace.
On the plus side - I find a fully-stocked first aid kit has them tip-toeing around without so much as a scratch. Run low on bandages and they'll start skipping over barbed wire.
I don't use boots either. Took Big Horse out with the draghounds once, and figured that as we were going to be riding round an XC course and I would definitely boot him if we were competing there, I should pop some boots on him. Lo and behold - twig down boot, one rubbed leg and the hair never grew back. Not great in a show horse.
I've recently discovered Premier Equine rugs, and have decided I never need buy another kind of rug again. 1 heavyweight, one lightweight, and one liner - you have every weight rug you may ever need! The thermatex is high tech enough to do the wicking away thing, and smart enough to use as a show rug.
I'm not a multiple-headcollar-offender. All mine have a good quality leather one, plus a spare cheap one for muddy days (or in Big Horse's case, a natural horsemanship headcollar for his more, ahem, excitable days!) I've owned the same 12ft nautical cotton lead rope for the last 8 years. It's needed the clasp replacing on it once, but the rope shows no sign of failing.
I hate shopping, and will make an effort to buy the right thing. It sometimes takes a couple of goes (am currently trying to get a new bridle for Little Horse, but he has a weird shaped head and I'm having to order some cob-sized parts and some full size parts. But once I've got the fit right I hope not to have to buy another bridle ever again for him.)
"We still operate a local show. We're struggling to get members as a lot of people want to compete on surfaces and do specific classes. The local shows will only survive if people use them.
I think today people (not all) buy a horse to do a specific job. They buy the specific saddle and bridle to go with that horse and this compete in that event. Very few people own an all round pony or one which they are willing to use for all round activities."
Wish you were near me! Dpony is slow and not the most confident jumper. He will never be a superstar. And I have absolutely no desire to buy 2 different saddles and 3 different bridles for competitions! But it would be nice to get him out to fun events
if it didn't blow his tiny brain.
You need to put on a local show round here! Last one I went to, before they gave it up had 43 people in one class!
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